But this I don’t get. Why, WHY do Christians check their brains at the door when they pray the sinner’s prayer? Why do they give up every last shred of self esteem and sense of self worth? Why DO they check their common sense at the door?
There was an acronym when I was growing up that went like this: JOY Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. I have a problem with this. It encourages you to run yourself to the ground, and ignore your own needs, and desires. It encourages you to let others take to take advantage of you and to submit yourself to manipulative churches.
How do Christians throw their common sense away? The argument for this is “God’s ways are NOT our ways”. Well, that’s true. We’re NOT God. But I hear things like “Well, we’re waiting on God”. Or, “I know God has a special purpose for me”, or “I know that God has a person for my life” in reference to a spouse. So, knowing that God is going to do all of this for them, they sit, waiting. They do nothing.
Or, they need money or employment. They wait on God for that, too. It never occurs to them to go job hunting or ask someone for money. God, you see, will do it all for them.
I don’t think that Jesus calls for us to live a life of passivity and dependency, but activity.
Paul says to “pray without ceasing”. It’s a good idea. But some people mean that to beg God to decide every mundane detail of their lives, going so far as to consulting God on their every move from what to eat, what to wear, to even helping them pick out their underwear.
They devalue themselves to be so worthless as to be unable to even pick out their own spouse. They’re so stupid, you see, that they’ll mess it up if they do it themselves. Guess what? Christians have the same divorce rate as the rest of the word. If you divorce “the person God has for you” does that mean that God made a mistake? Or are you going to explain it away by saying that you veered away from God’s will? The only way you’ll meet your spouse is to circulate. If you see the same boring people every day, and are interested in none of them and see nobody else, how is this going to happen? Is someone supposed to show up on your doorstep and announce “I’m the person God has for you”?
I’m not saying that God is uninterested in our lives. But, either He gave us free will or he didn’t.
Either we are puppets unable to think for ourselves, or we’re not. To me, there IS no middle ground.
If any of your utilities go off, you call the utility company in question to get it turned on, unless it’s a bad storm and you know why it’s off. Even then, a lot of us still call to find out just when it will come on.
You don’t sit there and pray for it to come on if you didn’t pay the bill. Not normally. If you didn’t pay the bill, you either pay it, or beg, borrow or steal the money. You don’t sit there and hope that it will come on like magic. God should NOT be reduced to magic. Can God do things instantly? Yes. He can. He does. Those are called miracles. Miracles, despite what the “name it, claim it” people will tell you, do NOT happen every day. That, to quote my husband, is “Why they call them miracles”.
Have I see miracles? Yes. I have had them happen to me. I got healed of a serious, painful illness when a group of people across town, unbeknownst to me, prayed for me . I didn’t deserve it. I didn’t have “faith” that I would be healed. I didn’t even know I was being prayed for. Did I expect it? No. Am I grateful? Oh yes!
A dear friend of mine was diagnosed a few years ago with a slow acting form of cancer. We were all horrified. None of us wanted to believe it. People visited him in the hospital and told him what he wanted to hear: that God was going to heal him, and that he wasn’t going to die from it. His pastor told him that, too. Because he was told that God was going to heal him, he made no plans for his wife. He did nothing to put his affairs in order. He died. His wife was left destitute. I was heartbroken to the point where I could not go to the funeral because I couldn’t stop crying loud, heaving sobs. To this day I am SO angry. I was devastated when our friend died, although I was expecting it. I was angry that a man with his amount of common sense heard what he wanted to hear and made no plans “just in case”.
I don’t believe that he died because of a lack of faith. He died because people get diseases, and they die. God doesn’t always heal. I don’t know why I was healed of a serious illness and this man was not. Certainly this man was more holy, and a valuable resource to his community. I’m not going to say that I don’t question God. There are a lot of times when I yell skyward :”What in HELL are you doing?” But God doesn’t have to answer to me. I’m ok with that.
I find the tendency of Christians to use God as an excuse to keep from doing something as troubling. People who will see doctors when they break their leg, or are in some kind of pain, suddenly throw up a wall when it comes to anything having to do with the mind. They’ll blame depression, sadness and insanity on spiritual problems, or the sins of their fathers. They’ll do elaborate rituals and go through hours of prayer to keep from doing the sensible thing: which namely is: “See a mental health professional and get help”.
I believe in the power of prayer. I find it healing and soothing. I find it troubling, however when I see people using prayer and God to keep from doing things that they can do to make them own selves healthier, physically and mentally, and to keep from taking on responsibility for themselves.
I’m not likely to sway many people to my way of thinking. When you feel that God has called you to be a doormat to let others take advantage of you and drain you, your energy and resource dry, you’re not going to listen to me.
But I am a firm believer in the fact that God gave me a brain, and created this world for me to livei n. If God created me in his own image, why in fact am I truly worthless? Do I believe that I sin? Oh, yes. I KNOW I sin. But I also know this: God gave me free will to make choices. He did NOT make me a door mat. He gave me the sense to trust Him, and to use my common sense to make decisions. He did not make me to lay in wait for manna to fall from Heaven and to sit there awaiting his grand master plan for me to unfold and put my brain in neutral while I wait for him to do everything for me.